Albany, NY - Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) passed legislation today (S.4467/A.6740) in the New York State Senate that will create a black youth suicide prevention task force to examine, evaluate and determine remedies for improving mental health and preventing suicides among black children, 5 to 18-years-old.
Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for ages 12-18, and the suicide rate for black children had an increase of 77 percent from 2006 to 2016, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have a silent crisis in our black communities among children. When suicide rates are nearly double for black youth when compared to white youth, we cannot ignore this. This legislation will help us better tailor our suicide prevention efforts, and ultimately save lives,” said Senator Carlucci.
Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Babylon) sponsors the legislation in the Assembly.
“The formation of this task force is such an important step forward towards mitigating this crisis that is taking the lives of our black youth at an alarming rate. I look forward to passing this in the Assembly and getting this to the Governor’s desk so we can start getting to work,” said Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre.
New research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that the suicide rate is roughly two times higher for black children aged 5 through 12 compared with white children of the same age group, results that were observed in both males and females. Although researchers were able to examine suicide rates, the data did not include information on what might be contributing to the age-related racial disparities in suicide.
The black youth suicide task force would be comprised of appointees with expertise in fields or disciplines related to mental health as well as knowledge of issues affecting black communities. Public hearings, the gathering of testimony, and investigations would take place as the task force deems necessary, with a preliminary report on its findings, conclusions and recommendations due to the Governor and Legislature within 13 months.